A lingerie maker, in a bid to discourage Japanese from using plastic bags, on Wednesday unveiled a bra whose cup padding unfolds to become a handheld shopping bag.
Lingerie maker Triumph has regularly designed bras aimed at drawing attention to social issues and to raise its own profile. Last year it unveiled a bra that can be heated in a microwave so as to help save on indoor heating costs.
The 'Bra Rangers' -- named in a nod to the television characters that morph into superheroes -- come with matching underwear whose pocket has the inscribed message, 'No more plastic bags!'
The bra-turned-bag is made of polyester fiber created through recycling. The bra straps can be tied onto the bag as ribbons.
Japanese shops hand out some 30 billion plastic bags per year, of which nearly a third of them are thrown away without being reused, said Triumph.
Few businesses, faced with tough competition, will risk alienating customers by not handing out bags, Triumph International Japan Ltd. said.
"In this context, what deserves the most attention is the significance of each and every customer understanding the importance of not using plastic bags," it said in a statement.
Triumph said it had sought a patent for the eco-bra, although it has no plans for now to put it on general sale.